Rotherham’s chances of reaching the semi-finals of the promotion play-offs in the Championship took a battering in Penzance where a competitive performance was spoiled by too many errors which ruined their hopes of a remarkable victory.
In a closely fought match, Rotherham had a great opportunity to cut into Pirates’ small lead on 64 minutes, but forward Adrian Griffiths dropped the ball when it would have been easier to have scored under the posts.
Earlier, centre Dave McCall scored a thrilling try after only three minutes to give the Titans the perfect start, and this promising beginning became stronger on 22 minutes as fly half Garry Law struck a penalty to put Rotherham in front 11-8.
But the Pirates, with the advantage of a big home crowd behind them, recovered to score a second try.
However, Rotherham, behind by only 15-11 at the interval, were still in the contest, and when Law was successful with two more penalties on 43 and 55 minutes, the Titans were still alive and were trailing by just 18-17.
Errors though continued and it was these blunders which were responsible for their downfall.
The Pirates, made to fight for every point and by no means as fluent as their fans would have wished for, nevertheless won enough ball to score a third try on 57 minutes. And with Rob Cook converting the second try scored by winger Grant Pointer, Rotherham were now losing 25-17.
Interestingly, and to Rotherham’s credit, they did not concede another point for more than 20 minutes as they contained the Cornish forwards.
The Titans pack, and once again flanker Robin Copeland played outstandingly well, continued to create promising positions, but, fatally, chances on the Pirates five metres line were not taken.
So the glaring mistake by Griffiths was not the only one.
Winger Shane Monahan also had an excellent opportunity to set up a try after making a brilliant break, but he chose to go alone rather than use men outside. The Titans, unlucky not to come back with a losing bonus point, are now bottom of Pool B on four points.
They can gain revenge for this defeat by beating Pirates at Clifton Lane on Saturday.
Rotherham Titans: Foden, Hamilton, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law, Williams,Cahill, Baines, Hooper, Patrick, Maddison, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava. Reps: Griffiths, Stagg, Vaioleti, Kirwan, Rhodes, Homan,Kilbane.
Scorers: Try: McCall. Penalties: Law 4.
Doncaster Knights appear highly unlikely to make the last four of the play-offs after they lost at London Welsh 34-24. The Knights are winless in the pool stages.